philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology


Pokémon to Develop Games for Nintendo’s Next-Gen System

pokemon_go_ar_logo“Pokémon Go” — produced by Pokémon Co., an affiliate of Nintendo, and developed by Google spin-off Niantic — has been downloaded more than 500 million times since its July introduction. Now, Pokémon chief executive Tsunekazu Ishihara says his company plans to create games for Nintendo’s next-generation system, which sources say will combine features of traditional consoles and handheld devices. Ishihara also says the company hopes to bring “Pokémon Go” to China and South Korea.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Nintendo plans to debut its next game system, dubbed NX, by March 2017.

Research company App Annie estimates “Pokémon Go” has earned more than $700 million, although others dispute that, saying the real figure is lower.

Ishihara reveals that “Pokémon Go” is still expanding its feature set, adding player-to-player battles and character trades, although changes will “come slowly to avoid overwhelming entry-level players.”

“It’s important to really carefully consider any feature that may increase the difficulty and raise the barrier to entry for more casual users,” he said.

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Discovery Launches Virtual Reality Online Network

Launch content includes Edge of the Earth, an experience that brings viewers alongside a weather balloon, propelling them 114,000 feet above Earth and breaking through a rain cloud that is audibly sleeting before emerging into the upper atmosphere.

Additional experiences now available are Rhinos on the Move, which follows Nepalese rhinos; Surf School With Kyle Thiermann, a tutorial with the pro surfer; Inside the Arctic Doomsday Seed Vault, set on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard; and Hearing Color, which features violinist Kaitlyn Hova and what she experiences with synesthesia, a neurological condition of "joined senses."

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PixelFLEX Brings Augmented Reality to LDI 2016

PixelFLEX will launch an Augmented Reality LED video experience at the LDI Conference and Tradeshow inside the Las Vegas Convention Center.

“In most 3D and Virtual Reality experiences a digital reality is created that the mind then fills with the aid of a viewing device,” said Alex Williams, PixelFLEX Director of Project Management. “With our new AR-LED technology we can create a visual image that physically and optically comes off the LED screen for a true Augmented Reality experience no matter if you are five or 500 feet away from the source.”

Additionally at LDI, PixelFLEX will be debuting the LumiFLEX 6.25mm LED basketball court. Recently featured by Nike Air Jordan at their latest worldwide launch, the ISSS-Certified LumiFLEX is the world’s first regulation, interactive LED basketball floor rated for live game play.

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How DARPA’s Augmented Reality Software Works

lead_largeSix years ago, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) decided that they had a new dream. The agency wanted a system that would overlay digital tactical information right over the top of the physical world.

Using the ULTRA-Vis system, a Soldier can visualize the location of other forces, vehicles, hazards and aircraft in the local environment even when these are not visible to the Soldier. In addition, the system can be used to communicate to the Soldier a variety of tactically significant (local) information including imagery, navigation routes, and alerts.

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Disney Junior Asia Brings “Magical Moments” With Augmented Reality Activation

As part of the ‘Disney Junior Magical Moments’ campaign, Disney Junior Asia released a social video over the weekend featuring footage from an AR stunt that was unleashed on the streets of Singapore.

The video captures the surprise and delight of families and little ones as they pass by the converted bus shelter and are transported into the magical world of Disney Junior, appearing alongside their favourite characters from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, The Lion Guard, Sofia the First, and Miles from Tomorrowland.

Dan Dawson, chief creative technology officer at Grand Visual said: “It is always great to work with Disney, an adventurous brand willing to push the boundaries of technology and storytelling in the digital space.

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NBC Teams Up with AltspaceVR to Stream Presidential Debates in Virtual Reality

Here’s another first for this election cycle: The Presidential Debates will be streamed in virtual reality, and you’ll be able to join up with other viewers and have virtual viewing parties, complete with customizable avatars.

These VR viewing parties are being held by NBC in AltspaceVR, an events-focused virtual world that has recreated the broadcaster’s election-themed “Democracy Plaza” just for the occasion. AltSpaceVR can be accessed via apps for Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR and HTC Vive as well as through a desktop viewer for PCs.

AltspaceVR has raised a $10 million round of funding from Comcast Ventures, Tencent, Dolby Family Ventures and others last July.

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VR Privacy Problem Is Real: Here’s What You Need To Know To Protect Yourself

picture1But now, virtual reality is threatening to erode our privacy to a new level from knowing how we physically move around to the brain waves we emit. Even though VR technology is still in its infancy, privacy advocates already quickly raising red flags concerned that consumers don't know what virtual reality companies can glean from our use of their devices.

Although noting that Oculus Rift "…will have a big effect on the future of technology," Franken also vowed to "…make sure that the company is doing everything it can to protect the very sensitive, private data of its users," he said in a statement in mid-May.

Consumers, of course, are already fairly comfortable with companies knowing their whereabouts—and those details are not unique to virtual reality, of course. But knowing a user's head movement? That their eyes glanced to one figure and not another while wearing a VR headset? Those details are unique.

... there's a potential benefit to this data collection, as well. With more data, brands will likely create marketing campaigns that the end-user may feel is more relevant to them.

Three-quarters, or 75 percent, of those on Forbes' World's Most Valuable Brands list, have created some form of virtual or augmented reality experience for customers or employees, or are themselves innovating and developing these technologies, according to YouVisit's Virtual Reality Brand Power Index.

Lock your device down

With VR devices and headsets, Levin recommends customers protect themselves right from the start. First? Be aware of the data that is collected about them. Next? Change default settings when those are provided, and set up a separate email address and passwords for gadgets that operate in virtual environments. If someone hacks into one online service, they then won't be able to use your login and password everywhere else on the net.

Companies then bear some responsibility sits with companies in creating privacy policies that are simple and clear—about what's collected on them and what isn't— so consumers can make an informed decision about whether to use their services or not, says Levin. Otherwise, more officials, like Franken, are likely to step up and force the issue further.

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Sony Pictures, Reality One Team on Virtual Reality Slate

virtual-reality-big-bet-varietySony Pictures will partner with Reality One to develop, produce, and finance a slate of virtual reality content, the partners said Tuesday. Many of the new virtual reality experiences will draw on the studio’s existing films and franchises, but others will be completely original works.

Sony Pictures will handle the distribution, with new projects expected to come to fruition later this year.

Still there is a sense that this is where the audience will migrate, and to that end, Sony appears eager to be one of the more aggressive players in the space. That’s somewhat unsurprising given that its parent company is a technology manufacturer. Sony has already launched virtual reality experiences based on “Ghostbusters” and “The Walk,” and tapped Jake Zim last July for the newly-created role of senior vice president of virtual reality.

Reality One was co-founded by billionaire and philanthropist Gigi Pritzker and former Legendary Entertainment executive Clint Kisker in 2015. They recently co-produced and co-published Gnomes and Goblins, an original production created by “Iron Man” director Jon Favreau.

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Sony’s AnywhereVR brings your smartphone into PlayStation VR

sony-anywhere-vrThe company’s music division, Sony Music Entertainment, announced a new relaxation app for its upcoming headset during a Tokyo Game Show 2016 press conference. Called AnywhereVR, the experience impressively projects your phone’s display inside an immersive environment, enabling you to check messages and apps without having to remove PS VR.

A brief trailer revealed the project onstage, showing a woman getting home from work, putting on her PS VR unit, and finding herself in picturesque environments with relaxing background music. She then grabs her phone in the real world, which brings up the display in the virtual environment that mirrors her device. According to the trailer (which includes brilliant narration), users will be able to talk to friends, use apps like Twitter and play minigames inside the piece. It’s not yet known if all smartphone apps will be supported in the app or only a specific selection, though the trailer suggested the later.

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Lumen – This Interactive Virtual Reality Experience Relaxes You in Minutes

picture1[Philip Lelyveld comment: I tried this a few weeks ago at Framestore's Culver City office.  The experience is wonderful!]

This virtual reality experience begins with a short breathing exercise, then places you in a luminous multicolored woodland where you’ll use ‘headset gaze’ to interact with the sights and sounds of your environment—and de-stress in the process. You’ll stimulate tree growth, choose a hue from the sky’s aurora display to customize your tranquil setting, and navigate a lush forest floor—giving colorful life to the dark and sparse landscape. The soundtrack, created by composer Peter Timberlake, evolves with your every interaction.

LUMEN was created in collaboration with Walter Greenleaf, PhD, of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, and Framestore’s VR Studio—and Dr. Greenleaf and other Stanford research scientists at the Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital will be evaluating how LUMEN can help children who are undergoing difficult surgical procedures.

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